This story is a one-shot and takes place during Season 2 of TSCC, after "Today is the Day Pt. 2" and before "To the Light House" and continues the story I wrote for last Valentine's Day.
I do not claim any rights to the characters or the TV series.
John is talking to Sarah about his visit to the morgue to see Rile2y's body.
John Connor, "I'm sorry I doubted you."
Sarah Connor, "John . . . "
John Connor, "No - not you. Her."
Behind Sarah, Cameron has appeared in the door, her eyes falling upon John.
Jesse Flores, "Would it have worked?"
John Connor, "What?"
Jesse, "The cyborg had murdered the girl, or if I could've made you believe that she had?"
John, "Would I have sent Cameron away, would I have killed her? - No."
Jesse, "Well - it's a damn shame then. It's a damn waste."
John Connor speaking to Jesse, "You know, I've been running from the machines my whole life. They tried to kill my mom before I was even born. When I was twelve, they sent one after me. I was a kid. I was stupid. I didn't know what it was all about. Both times, future me sent someone back, to stop them. The first time it was a soldier. His name was Kyle Reese, and he died saving my mother's life. Second time it was a machine. I used to wonder why I did that - why I took that chance. I don't wonder anymore. Human beings can't be replaced. They can't be rebuilt. They die and they never come back."
Extracts from Season 2 Episode 19, "Today is the Day Pt. 2" 20 March 2009
John and Cameron are lying on his bed, talking.
Cameron Phillips, "I understand that being John Connor can be lonely."
John Connor, "Oh yeah? How do you understand that?"
Cameron, "You and I talk about it a lot."
John, "We do?"
Cameron, "We do. We will."
Extract from Season 2, Episode 8, "Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today" 10 November 2008
Cameron is sitting quietly on the foot of her bed, listening to the sounds emanating from downstairs.
John is grieving over the death of Riley.
She doesn't fully understand the concept of loss or death. She's never known anyone with whom she got close enough to who died. But she knows what it means to be alone, to be lonely.
She knows she doesn't express grief or compassion all that well, and despite that, she wishes there was something she could say or do to help John. But how do you heal a pain that is inside?
Like the pain I felt all that time John spent with Riley instead of me. There was no relief for that. I knew Riley was a problem, but I didn't act. I could have killed Riley and no one would have known, but they would have suspected, and John would have been lonely, again.
She gets up and goes to her bureau and opens the top drawer. Inside is her makeup case, her jewelry case, plus an assortment of fake identification and prepaid cell phones.
Taking out her jewelry case, she closes the drawer and sets it on top of the bureau.
She sets aside, rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings, to take out an item wrapped in a scrap piece of soft material.
From within the folds of material, she pulls out a fire blackened, heart-shaped, locket.
John gave it to her for Valentine's Day, over a year ago, and she had nothing to give in return at the time. It meant something to him and to her at the time. Still does. Especially since she went back to the burnt out remains of their old home to find it, the gold plating melted away, the clasp bent.
Downstairs, Sarah is gently stroking the back of John's head as he finishes crying, with his head on her leg.
She has no words for him. No words of comfort or anger. All she has is love for her son.
It was a hard lesson to learn. People die for John Connor, and sometimes they die because of him.
It won't do her any good to tell him I told you so. He knows this already.
"Hey." She says gently, easing his head from her lap. "Why don't I get us something to drink?"
"What?" John asks.
"Come on." Sarah says, trying to give her son a warm smile. "I'll let you have a beer. I think you could use it after . . ."
She leaves the sentenced unfinished, but they both know what she means.
"Sure." John says following his mom to the kitchen.
Pulling two bottles from the back of the fridge, Sarah says, "This isn't something I approve of, underage drinking, but I think just this once, I can be lenient and understanding enough to let you have this one beer."
Sarah pops the top off both bottles and hands one of them to John.
While Sarah drinks from her own bottle, she watches John drink from his bottle. No grimace, no expression. That settles it. It's been John and not Derek steeling from her cache of beers. Won't take it up with him now. It can wait til morning.
Sarah's cell phone rings.
Pulling it out she sees it's from Derek.
With a scowl, she waits for the text message verifying it's him, then answers.
"You've got some nerve calling here!" She shouts.
"Is it Derek?" John asks, but only gets a frown for his troubles. Definitely Derek.
Sarah marches into the dining room with a full head of steam.
"What do you want? You put John's life in danger! How dare you call me."
"I know Sarah. I'm sorry." Derek pauses as Sarah goes through another tirade. "Dammit! I know that! If you want an explanation, then you'd better come see me."
"Why can't you come here?"
"Well, for one, I'd think you'd kill me on sight."
"That's the first smart thing you've said tonight."
"And second," Derek holds his blood covered hand up in front of his face. "I don't think I'd get very far looking like this."
"What are you talking about?"
"Just grab my bag from the hall closet, would ya? It's got a change of clothes and a couple of magazines for my gun. My clip is empty."
"Where'd ya want me to meet you?" Sarah asks.
Derek tells her and she memorizes the directions.
"You wait there. And you damn well better have some answers!"
"Listen! Sarah! I'm sorry. All right! I'm sorry."
But his last apology goes unheard as the call is disconnected.
Derek looks on the face of Jesse laying dead in the back of his truck.
"You don't know how sorry I am." he says, caressing her face with his bloody hand. A pool of blood forming around Jesse's head like some macabre halo.
Derek jumps into the cab of his truck and quickly leaves the parking garage to meet Sarah at the location he told her he'd be.
Sarah walks back into the kitchen, carrying Derek's bag from the hall closet. John's beer is almost empty.
"I've got to go." she says, setting the bag down, pulling on her leather jacket and checking that the keys to her SUV are in the pocket.
"What did Derek want?" John asks, while fiddling with the almost empty bottle in front of him.
"Don't know, but my guess is he wants to talk. Try to explain his actions, or lack of thought."
"Are you going to kill him?" John asks, this time looking her square in the face, with a penetrating stare.
Sarah, still harboring thoughts of doing that very thing, suddenly realizes, "No, but he doesn't have to know that."
She grins and John smiles weakly.
"No, I guess not." John replies.
She quickly hugs his head to her stomach, ruffling his hair.
"I'm sorry John."
Sarah quickly releases him as she knows John doesn't go for this kind of thing at his age now.
"You know the rules. Stay inside or with Cameron at all times until I return."
"No problem, mom." John gives her a weary but sincere smile.
Sarah, almost reluctantly, goes outside, into the dark.
A minute later, John hears the truck start up and drive away.
Leaving the empty bottle on the table, John decides to go upstairs, and go to bed. It will be their last night in the house. Setting the alarm, he turns off the kitchen lights.
Cameron listens to John's footsteps as he comes up the stairs. She tucks the locket in next to her leg as John gets closer to her door.
"John?" She asks softly, but loud enough for her voice to carry.
Outside in the hall, John pauses, wondering if he should.
Cameron waits patiently to see if he will speak to her, fearing the worse when it grows quiet, she is flooded with relief moments later when he speaks.
"Yeah." He says leaning against the door frame.
"I'm sorry for your loss." She says, trying to make her words sound sincere, as she looks at him with her doe like eyes.
"You did warn me. So did mom." John says, still a mask of pain and grief on his face.
"Riley's death is not your fault." Cameron says, cutting to the heart of John's fear. He may be young, but he isn't all that different from Future John. He always felt responsible for those who died too.
In a rush of feelings, John pours out his anger, "She's dead because of me. She was brought here by Jesse because of me. I knew Riley knew who I really was. I could have stopped this, weeks ago."
"But you wanted to feel normal. Which is why you kept seeing her, instead of stopping her?"
John lets out a long sigh. How is it Cameron can see right through him? Like she knows him better than anyone else.
"Yeah, so I killed her by doing nothing. Riley is dead and it is as much my fault as Jesse's"
Cameron is unresponsive. There is a logic to his argument, but she knows he is wrong . . . and lonely.
"Good night." John says quickly, and walks off to his room.
Cameron listens as John throws his shoes to the floor, and goes through his routine before crawling into bed.
Waiting until the house is quiet, she puts on the locket, then enters their adjoining bathroom. Typical for John, instead of throwing his wet towels in the hamper, he threw them at it, as they lay haphazardly on top of and along side it.
She looks in the mirror and checks her appearance. Satisfied with what she sees, she waits, for the appropriate time to act.
Sarah drives to the location Derek gave her and finds him standing next to his truck in the hills above Los Angeles.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you now." She nearly spits at him as she strides forward with murder in her eyes and her gun in her hand.
Derek waits until she is almost on him before saying, "I can't think of a single thing, other than we're family Sarah."
"Well, you have one hell of a way of showing it. So what is it that you need?"
"Look." he says pointing at the back of his truck.
Sarah, still holding her gun, gestures for him to step back, which he does.
Flicking on her flashlight quickly and aiming it to the bed of Derek's pick-up, she sees the body of a woman, the high school guidance counselor she met.
"Is this Jesse Flores?"
"What was she to you that you'd betray us, betray me, betray JOHN?"
"It wasn't like that, Sarah."
"Sure. Jesse. Her name was mentioned at the diamond merchant. How long as she been here? How long did you know she was here?" She spits each syllable out like it forms a bad taste in her mouth.
"She's been here almost as long as I have. I've known for the last year."
"Bastard!" She yells throwing the shovel from the back of his truck at him. "Start digging!"
Throwing his arms up, the shovel gives him a glancing blow off his forearms. Seeing the fierce anger in Sarah's eyes, and the gun back in her hand, Derek picks the shovel up.
Finding a spot under the shade of a juniper bush, he marks out an outline for a hole to dig.
"Make it longer and wider." Sarah glares at him.
Derek's eyes shift from the shovel to Sarah and back to the shovel again. He marks out a larger hole to dig.
After waiting long enough for John to have fallen asleep, Cameron walks quietly into his room.
It is dark in his room. Just a little light shines through the window that John has cracked open for ventilation on this warm night.
Cameron stands there, watching John sleep.
He is alone again.
Moving carefully so as not to wake him, she slowly removes each piece of clothing and lays them on the chair at his desk.
Completely naked, but for the locket around her neck, she gently gets underneath the covers, laying next to John.
Derek has made the hole as deep as his hips when Sarah asks, "Did you shoot her?"
He pauses to get his breath back. "Tried, chamber was empty, but it didn't matter." he sighs. "She looked back at me when I raised my gun to fire. She missed the first step and fell . . . down the stairs. Cracked her skull open. She died . . . instantly."
Sarah can see that he is grieving, but she'll be damned if he'll get any sympathy from her.
"You should have shot her the first time you saw her, Reese. Now we have to leave, investigation into Kaliba unfinished. Why? Because of this woman and her pawn."
"Sarah, I'm . . ."
"Shut up! Reese! Now keep digging!"
"Fine!" He grumbles, wondering just how deep she wants him to dig, and how many bodies she's planning on putting in the hole when he's done.
Stirring in his sleep as once again he sees Riley's dead face in his dreams, John wakes with a start when he feels a warm body next to him in the bed.
"What the . . ." he grumbles as he turns on the low wattage lamp next to his bed.
Turning back to see what's in his bed beside him, he couldn't be more surprised. Next to him, the sheets pulled up to her chin, is Cameron.
"Cameron! What the hell?" He rubs his eyes to get the sleep out. "What's goin' on? What are you. . ."
The questions die on his lips as they are asked.
Waiting for him to stop stumbling, Cameron finally speaks. "You shouldn't be alone John."
"So you took it upon yourself to keep me company? What? Standing at the foot of my bed wasn't good enough anymore?"
Exasperated he gestures at himself under the blankets. "I'm naked under here!"
A long awkward pause is broken when Cameron adds, "So am I."
"It's deep enough!" Derek growls clambering up and over the edge of the hole.
"Yes it is." Sarah says coldly.
"There's a tarp in the back of the SUV, you can use it to wrap the body in."
"Won't be necessary." Derek grumbles.
He walks to the back of the pickup and lowers the gate. With a tenderness that surprises even Sarah, he picks up Jesse's body in his muscular sweaty arms and carries her back to the grave.
He lays her body on the ground next to the hole, then jumps down inside. Derek then reaches up and lifts Jesse's body and lies her in the bottom of the hole.
He folds her arms neatly across her chest, and places his bandanna over her face.
There is a noise above his head. The sound of a gun chambering a round. Derek looks up right into the bore of the gun that Sarah is pointing at him.
"I'll ask you again Reese. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't cut my losses, here and now."
John stammers, "You . . . you, um, are naked?"
Cameron nods her head.
"What . . . Why?"
She gazes at him with her soft brown eyes for what seems like an eternity before saying, "Because I love you and you love me."
Feeling even more awkward than ever now, he can't leave the bed without exposing himself to Cameron, and he can't ask her to leave without her doing the same.
"This isn't the right time, Cameron."
"When is the right time?"
She pulls the locket out from under the sheet, holding it up to him.
"You gave me this for Valentine's Day over a year ago. It is in the shape of a heart. Why give it to me if you didn't love me?"
"Cam . . . I . . ."
"You told me that I would now have a heart. Humans consider the heart the seat of emotions. But I have loved you before you ever gave me this. I went back to our old house to look for this amongst the embers."
"Why? It was only gold plated, and that's gone now. It doesn't have any value."
"That's where you are wrong. It has value to me. You gave this to me. Like I gave you the watch, you now wear around your neck."
With a frown, John says, "But it isn't a watch."
"No. It's a detonator. Press the button and I'm gone."
"I wouldn't do it. I couldn't do it." John says, eyes wide with fear of having that choice. "I'd never kill you."
"Neither would I, John. But every day you place your life in my hands, hands that could some day crush the life out of you. I wouldn't do it by choice, but someday I might. You now have the choice of whether I live or die, the same as I do with you."
"What? You choose not to terminate me?"
"Yes. I fight it every day."
"Because I love you and you love me."
"So this is it, huh? Shoot me and bury us together. Thought this was your plan." Derek says, wiping the sweat from his brow.
"If you knew what I was planning, then why didn't you stop me?"
Derek looks down at the body at his feet, then back up to Sarah standing over him.
"Because a part of me wants to be here with Jesse, but the other part of me wants to be with John."
"You gotta do better than that Reese." She squares off making sure her first shot will aim true.
"Cameron." Derek says.
"What about her?"
"You don't trust her any more than you trust me, yet if you want to get rid of her, you're going to need me."
Sarah's eyes shift quickly to the left then back at Derek.
"Try again Reese. John's at home, alone with her now. Kind of kills your argument."
"But it's true."
"Damn." Sarah says and walks away.
Derek scrambles out of the hole, and begins throwing shovel fulls of dirt down on the body.
Sarah walks back from her vehicle carrying the bag from the hall closet and throws it down at Derek's feet.
"When you are done here, come by the house and get cleaned up. We're leaving in the morning. Because of you, Jesse and Riley, this place has gotten too hot for us."
Sarah strides away to her SUV, without giving Derek a second glance.
He watches her drive away, kicking up a rooster tail of loose earth from her tires, then resumes burying the body.
John nervously looks at Cameron, unsure of what to say or how to proceed.
"I don't want you to be alone John." She says serenely.
"I can see that, but Cameron..."
"You don't understand. I'm not here just to protect you. I want to be with you."
"You don't want me to be alone." He says flatly.
"Future John knows what it means to lose people he loves. Now so do you."
John isn't sure of what to say. How many people have died that his future self knew? Ten? Twenty? A hundred? How many good friends among them?
"He sent a T-800 to protect you at age thirteen because a human couldn't survive a fight with the T-1000."
"And you? Why did he send you?"
"Future John knows what it means when the people he loves are killed. You are brave and strong, a leader of millions of people. But you are alone. So alone in the future. We talk about it a lot. He didn't want that for himself at this time."
John lifts the locket from the sheets between her breasts.
"So, here you are."
"Yes," she says softly, "here I am."
John reaches behind him and turns off the lamp, closing the room up in darkness.
Two hours later, Sarah drives down the gravel road to her rented house in the oil fields, as the sky begins to get brighter in the east.
She comes to a stop just this side of the garage, the headlights briefly lighting it up before quickly going out.
The engine is still ticking as Sarah marches up the brick steps to the back door.
Entering the kitchen, she is greeted by the beeping of the alarm. Quickly punching in her code, she heads for the stairs to go up, shower and change.
Halfway up the stairs, she encounters Cameron coming down the stairs in a pink bathrobe, her hair wrapped in a towel, fresh from the shower.
"How's John doing?" Sarah asks.
A tiny smile plays across Cameron's mouth.
"He's sleeping peacefully."
She continues past Sarah going down the stairs to the kitchen.
"We'll be leaving today. You should get dressed." Sarah calls after her.
"We've got time to eat breakfast." Cameron asks. "John will be hungry when he wakes."
Sarah frowns as she watches the pink robe disappear around the corner. There was something about her expression, body language, that she didn't like, but what?
With a quick step she heads up the stairs. Glancing in John's room, she sees her son in a deep restful slumber, a look of serene peace on his face. Not the look of someone who's girlfriend was murdered.
She can't trust Derek. She definitely doesn't trust Cameron. She can't bring it in herself to kill one, and if she attempted to destroy the other, she'd lose her son. But nothing says she can't leave them both behind.
Feeling a sharp pain in her breast, Sarah enters her bedroom and strips off to the waist. Running her hand along her breast, pressing, she finds something that fills her with more fear than any machine ever could.
No! Not now! I can't fight this and protect John!
Charlie! I'll see Charlie and leave John with him. I'll slow him up if we have to run. I love my son, but I can't help him like this.
He'll be alone. For the first time, John will be alone.
"I'm sorry John." She says to the empty room.
Down the hall John wakes to the smell of breakfast cooking. With a smile on his heart, he dresses quickly, not knowing that Sarah will soon try to separate him from his only real friend.
Not as mushy as I thought this Valentine's story might turn out, but I couldn't help but feel that fitting the second part of this story between "Today is the Day" and "To the Lighthouse" was the best place for this continuation. Turns out to be a tragic love story for all.
But the question remains, Did John sleep with Cameron? Or did he sleep with Cameron? They might have spent the night in his bed and not done anything but talk, but then you'd have to ask, then why turn out the light? It could have been so he could sleep, but why would he be especially hungry in the morning? And what was with Cameron's expression when she bumped into Sarah? Was she happy, just because she spent the night with John, or was it because they had sex? But if they did have sex, then why John's hesitation in "Born to Run" when Cameron stripped off her shirt and bra? Something happened between them in this story, but as to what it was, the decision is yours.
John and Cameron, the Romeo and Juliet of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Happy Valentine's Day!
February 14, 2011